I've gotten to the age where all people ask when they meet me is, "What do you do for a living?" (If you're not at this age yet, just stop aging.) I'm pretty sure it hasn't always been like that. When I met new friends in Kindergarten, they didn't ask me what I did for a living. It was probably more along the lines of "Which Power Ranger is your favorite?" Or, "Which Ninja Turtle would win in a fight?" (Apparently we watched a lot of fighting shows in the Kindergarten days!) But now that I'm older, I kind of wish people would just ask me which Power Ranger is my favorite. (Pink, duh).
And maybe it's just me, but when I hear the question "So what do you do for a living?" I actually hear the words, "How much money do you make? Are you important? Are we on the same level?" And frankly, I'm over it. I've yet to have a job that defined who I am. While I've been in the midst of all my musical pursuits, my answer to this daunting question has been, "I'm a waitress. Barista. Front Desk at a Hotel. Nanny." And even in the seasons of my life when my answer has been, "Musician, Actor," I'm still over it, because even then I have to expound by rattling off my resume or what I've done that proves or impresses.
But the thing is, I never wanted to impress anyone to begin with. I'd rather just skip to the part where they tell me about their boyfriend, or the struggles they've dealt with recently, so that we can actually get to know each other. And maybe you have a job that you love and that's great! I applaud you, because I have not met many people like that! But, I think there's more to us than our jobs. It's our passions and interests that make us unique, or even more alike than we know! But we'll never know if all we do is talk about our jobs all day long.
My dad gave me a book a few years back called, "How To Talk To Anyone" by Leil Lowndes. In one of the chapters, Lowndes discusses how to approach someone. He says you don't approach someone by asking what they do for a living but rather by asking someone how they spend their time. This gives them room to say, "I'm an avid skier, so I spend a lot of my time skiing with my family!" And how much more interesting is that than talking about your 9 to 5 and 401 K's?! Then maybe you'll have skiing in common and can discuss all the best places to ski--maybe one day you'll go on a ski trip together! Who knows!? (This fake conversation I just made up is going really well!)
So for 2015, I propose this: let's stop asking people what they do for a living, and start asking people their interests or what they're passionate about. Then maybe we'll start our relationships with a deeper connection and live life more meaningfully, one conversation at a time.
Sometimes I think I'm crazy. But sometimes, I think I know exactly what I'm doing.